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Boston Marathon Bombing Yields Lessons for Hospitals

Tinker Ready, for HealthLeaders Media, April 17, 2014

King had just finished running the race and was headed home with his family when he started getting text messages about the blast. He turned around and went to work. There, Mass General Hospital emergency department workers were coping with a surge of 37 people injured in what is technically known as an MCI, a mass casualty incident.

'How Can We Do It Better?'
Now King is part of a consortium of the city's five trauma centers that has been studying the response. The data and the research emerging from it are part of the effort to use the lessons of the marathon to improve trauma care.  

"This is asking ourselves: How did we do? How can we do it better?" King says.

Unlike many of his Boston peers, King had experience with mass casualties before the Marathon bombing. As a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army, he was stationed at a combat outpost in Afghanistan when a truck bomb went off outside the gates on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

His experiences here and overseas where 75 percent of all injuries were caused by explosions— have made King a huge promoter of the tourniquet. The bystanders at the finish line did their best with t-shirts, belts, and other makeshift tourniquets, he said. But, it takes a medical-quality device to stop arterial hemorrhaging and prevent blood loss that can make a leg wound fatal.

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